Aaron Rodgers hit another career milestone as the Green Bay Packers held off a fourth-quarter charge by the Baltimore Ravens to clinch the NFC North with a 31-30 victory Sunday. 

Division champions for the third consecutive year, the Packers became the first NFL team to lock up a playoff berth. 

Green Bay led 31-17 before Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, making his second career start, ran for a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes. 

After the second of those, with 45 seconds remaining, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh opted to go for a two-point conversion that would have put the Ravens (8-6) on top, but Huntley could not connect on his pass attempt to Mark Andrews. 

That last defensive stand allowed Rodgers and the Packers (11-3) to escape with a win that gave them the division crown as the veteran quarterback completed 23 of 31 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

The last of those, an 11-yard strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling early in the fourth quarter, was the 442nd touchdown pass of the quarterback's career, tying him with Brett Favre for the most in Packers history. 

His opposite number Sunday, the 23-year-old Huntley, was starting with Ravens star Lamar Jackson sidelined by ankle injury. 

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Huntley had a brilliant game, rushing for 73 yards and two scores while completing 28 of 40 passes for 215 yards and two more scores. 

Andrews was his top target all day, catching 10 passes for 136 yards and both of those TDs, but the tight end could not get his hands on the critical conversion try at the end. 

 

Bengals edge Broncos after Bridgewater injury

Joe Burrow hit Tyler Boyd for a 56-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter that proved the difference as the Cincinnati Bengals picked up a key road win with a 15-10 defeat of the Denver Broncos. 

The lone Bengals TD of the afternoon came about five minutes after the Broncos (7-7) lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a head injury. 

Bridgewater collided with Bengals linebacker Joe Bachie in a scramble out of the backfield and both players went down. Bridgewater had to be carted off the field and was transported to a Denver hospital as a precaution. 

His replacement, Drew Lock, finished the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Tim Patrick but Denver did not score again. 

Burrow completed 15 of 22 passes for 157 yards for the Bengals (8-6), who are tied with the Ravens atop the AFC North. 

 

Garoppolo, 49ers keep up winning ways

The San Francisco 49ers rolled to their fifth victory in six games, downing the Atlanta Falcons 31-13. 

Jimmy Garoppolo completed 18 of 23 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown and Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for 110 yards and a score for San Francisco (8-6). 

The victory coupled with division leader Arizona's stunning loss in Detroit earlier Sunday kept the 49ers firmly in playoff contention as they sit third in the NFC West behind the Cardinals (10-4) and Los Angeles Rams (9-4). 

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has no doubt Aaron Rodgers will be "ready to go" for Sunday's clash with the Baltimore Ravens.

Rodgers went through the week with any work in practice as the NFC North-leading Packers prepare to visit AFC North leaders the Ravens in Baltimore.

Reigning NFL MVP Rodgers has been dealing with a fractured left pinky toe, but the Packers are not concerned about his availability.

"He did not do anything today other than our walk-through prior to practice," LaFleur told reporters on Friday, with a win against the Ravens locking up the NFC North title.

"But as far as him playing in the game, we don't have any concerns. Certainly, yeah, you'd love to have him get those live reps just for the timing purposes.

"But again, is it what it is. We'll make the best of it, and there's no doubt in my mind he'll be ready to go."

Rodgers threw four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Chicago Bears last week – it was his 28th career game with at least four TD passes and zero interception, tied with Tom Brady for the most such games in NFL history (including playoffs).

The Packers dropped 45 points on the Bears at Lambeau Field, their highest scoring output since 2014 against the Philadelphia Eagles (53-20 win). The Packers are averaging 30.7 points per game at home but 20.6 points on the road, the third-largest differential in the NFL, according to Stats Perform.

The Green Bay Packers will clinch the NFC North title if they avoid defeat against the wounded Baltimore Ravens, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could win the NFC South in Week 15.

AFC North leaders Baltimore will be striving to avoid a third consecutive defeat when they face the Packers but have this week been managing quarterback Lamar Jackson's ankle sprain.

Tampa Bay can seal the division title provided they are not beaten at home by the New Orleans Saints on Monday, while the New England Patriots are among the teams looking to book a playoff spot ahead of their showdown with the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.

Stats Perform previews the standout games and the best of the rest.

Green Bay Packers (10-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

The Ravens have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, losing by one point against the Pittsburgh Steelers and by two at the Cleveland Browns. It is the first time in franchise history the Ravens have lost consecutive games by two points or fewer.

Green Bay scored 45 points in a win over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field last week, their highest scoring output since 2014 against the Philadelphia Eagles (53-20 win). The Packers are averaging 30.7 points per game at home but 20.6 points on the road, the third-largest differential in the NFL.

Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Bears. It was his 28th career game with at least four TD passes and no interceptions, tied with Tom Brady for the most such games in NFL history including the postseason.

Davante Adams is Rodgers' top target and has gone over 100 receiving yards in three straight games. He is now tied with James Lofton for the most 100-yard receiving games in Packers history with 33.

New England Patriots (9-4) @ Indianapolis Colts (7-6)

The Patriots have conceded 13 or fewer points in each of their past five games. That is the longest such streak in Patriots history and the longest by any NFL team since 2008 (Pittsburgh, five games). 

Mac Jones and the Patriots attempted only three passes last time out in their 14-10 Week 13 win at Buffalo. Since 1950, there have been only two other instances of an NFL team attempting no more than three passes in one game: the Kansas City Chiefs (three) in a 24-10 win against the Oakland Raiders in 1968, and the Buffalo Bills (two) in a 16-12 victory over the New York Jets in 1974.

But Indianapolis know how to run the ball, too. They have gained 996 yards rushing over their previous five games, their highest total over a five-game span since gaining 1,024 in 1976. The Colts have scored 12 rushing TDs in the stretch, matching their best five-game total in the past 30 seasons. 

Through the air, Carson Wentz has had five interceptions from his 420 pass attempts this season. His interception rate (1.2 per cent) is the third-lowest among the 32 qualifying NFL quarterbacks. 

New Orleans Saints (6-7) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)

The Bucs have won four consecutive games and are due a victory over the Saints, having lost the past six clashes between the two teams.

Brady reached yet another landmark last week, with his 58-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman taking his tally of touchdown passes in the NFL to 700. The only other quarterback with at least 600 is former Saint Drew Brees (608).

Taysom Hill had multiple rushing touchdowns for the fourth time in his career last week and added 73 rushing yards. The only other Saints quarterback to rush for at least 50 yards and multiple TDs is Archie Manning (52 yards, 2 TDs on October 17, 1971 against the Dallas Cowboys).

Expect a fast start from Tampa. The Bucs have outscored opponents by 70 points in the first half of games this season, behind only Indianapolis (73) for the best mark in the league.

Elsewhere...

The Los Angeles Rams (9-4) are closing in on the playoffs and will have home advantage when they face the Seattle Seahawks (9-4). The Rams have won six of the past eight matchups between these teams, including a 26-17 win in Seattle in Week 5 this year.

Heinz Field will stage a battle between the Steelers (6-6-1) and a Tennessee Titans (9-4) side scenting the AFC South title. The Titans shut out an opponent for the second time in 20 seasons with a 20-0 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. 

The Cowboys (9-4) travel to lock horns with the New York Giants (4-9) with the NFC title within their grasp. Dak Prescott lost both of his starts against the Giants as a rookie in 2016 but is 8-0 in his starts against them since then. Ron Jaworksi, from 1977 to 1981, was the last QB to win nine starts in a row against the Giants.

Darrell Bevell has stepped in to take over as the Jaguars' interim head coach after Urban Meyer was fired on Wednesday. Jacksonville start life after Meyer attempting to avoid a record-breaking eighth consecutive loss to the Houston Texans, with both sides a dismal 2-11 this season.

NFL seasons can change in an instant and be decided by events that are seemingly insignificant at the time.

In the case of the Green Bay Packers, their Super Bowl hopes appear to hinge on the left pinky toe of reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers has played through the pain of the fractured toe, yet that most diminutive of appendages may have the biggest impact on how a 2021 season that is proving impossible to predict plays out.

The injury is expected to linger for the rest of the season and Rodgers indicated after the Packers' Week 14 win over the Chicago Bears that it is deteriorating.

"It feels worse," Rodgers told reporters. "I don't know what kind of setback that I had tonight, but we'll look at it tomorrow. Definitely took a step back tonight."

If Rodgers' performance came amid a step back then that should be an extremely worrying sign for his rivals in the NFC, as he and the Packers again shredded the Bears.

Rodgers finished 29 of 37 for 341 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions in Green Bay's 45-30 triumph at Lambeau Field.

The 2021 campaign has been one of Rodgers' more scattershot seasons. He delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 82.4 per cent of his throws last year, the third-best rate among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts.

This season, his well-thrown percentage is 78, slightly below the average of 78.2. Additionally, after throwing an interceptable pass on just 2.23 per cent of attempts in 2020, his pickable pass rate has increased to 3.36.

Sunday's NFC North encounter, however, was a showcase of just how devastating Rodgers can be when his accuracy is on point. Throwing with touch, precision and confidence that comes with playing a team against whom he now holds a 22-5 record in the regular season, Rodgers delivered a well-thrown ball on 88.6 per cent of attempts, fourth among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts in Week 14.

Yes, Rodgers was aided by playing a Bears defense missing pieces in the secondary and allowing 6.56 yards per pass play, the 10th-most in the NFL, but this performance was not a high point in an inconsistent season against an inferior opponent, it was a continuation of a surge from a quarterback who still has a case for being the league's most talented, even in an era housing both Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.

Since returning from his controversial coronavirus-enforced absence in Week 10, Rodgers has thrown for 1,325 yards, 10 touchdowns and an interception. He leads the NFL in yards per attempt (8.72) in that time and is also first in passer rating (114.1) and passing plays of 25 yards or more (15).

The season and indeed the MVP race has frankly been too volatile to suggest Rodgers is playing at a level to put him in contention to win the award for a second successive year.

But his standard of performance continues to elevate the Packers to a level where they can overcome even the most disastrous of failures from other areas of the team.

It was the Packers' special teams that threatened to undermine Rodgers' efforts against Chicago. 

Green Bay allowed 213 return yards in the first half, with Bears wide receiver Jakeem Grant taking a punt back 97 yards for a touchdown. Mason Crosby sent a kick-off out of bounds while receiver Malik Taylor muffed a return out of bounds at the five-yard line.

Chicago started four first-half drives at the 40-yard line or beyond and, while the Packers somewhat reduced the errors in the second half, the final two quarters still saw a poor 22-yard punt from Corey Bojorquez and Marquez Valdes-Scantling make a mess of an onside kick recovery.

The Bears held a 10-point lead as a result of those miscues during the second quarter. Sterner opposition may have done a better job of pressing home that advantage, yet Rodgers ensured it did not grow into a decisive one as the Packers improved to 10-3.

Such egregious mistakes would likely be fatal in the postseason even with Rodgers playing at his peak, but his ability to help the Packers overcome deficiencies elsewhere on the team has Green Bay in an excellent position to contend for the one seed and seal the easiest possible route to the Super Bowl.

Rodgers resides in that select group of quarterbacks against whom almost no lead is safe, with a mystique that was only furthered in Week 14 lingering over any game involving Green Bay. However, with the unexpectedly large spectre of a worsening toe injury hanging over the Packers' season, their position as a Super Bowl contender can be considered under threat even as Rodgers continues to solidify it.

The Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers made light work of the Chicago Bears, yet the quarterback is concerned about an ongoing toe problem.

Rodgers threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions as the Packers came from behind to claim a 45-30 win over their rivals on Sunday.

Green Bay (10-3) are the third team in the NFL this season to hit 10 wins, while the Packers have now won six straight games against the Bears.

Rodgers extended his run to 23-5 when starting against Chicago, while he has now enjoyed seven four-touchdown, no interception games against the Bears – the most in NFL history against a single opponent.

Indeed, Rodgers is the only quarterback who also has six such games, having achieved the feat against the Minnesota Vikings. Tom Brady, with five such games against the Buffalo Bills, is the closest to matching Green Bay's talisman in that regard.

His final touchdown pass of the game took Rodgers to 61 career TDs against the Bears, taking him clear of Brett Favre (60) for the most against Chicago.

Rodgers aggravated Chicago after the clash with Green Bay in October, with a taunt of "I own you."

 

While team-mate Allen Lazard wore a shirt with the slogan "I still own you" to his post-game media conference, Rodgers said he does not need to reiterate the point.

"I've already said what I've said," he explained. "I don't need to double and triple down. I'll let those words stand for themselves."

However, it was not all positive for Rodgers, who conceded the toe injury he has been carrying has not improved.

The reigning NFL MVP sustained the fracture to his pinky toe during his COVID-19 quarantine earlier in the season. Despite allowing the injury time to heal over the Packers' bye week, the 38-year-old revealed he was suffering throughout Sunday's game.

"It feels worse," Rodgers told reporters.

"I don't know what kind of setback that I had tonight but we'll look at it tomorrow. Definitely took a step back tonight."

Rodgers has previously confirmed that surgery is an option, though he is hoping to avoid a procedure if possible. Further scans, set to take place on Monday, will determine the next course of action.

"That would be last resort, for sure," Rodgers added when asked about the possibility of surgery. "But I've got to see what kind of setback it was tonight."

Aaron Rodgers' domination of the Chicago Bears continued as the reigning NFL MVP fuelled the Green Bay Packers' come-from-behind 45-30 victory on Sunday.

Rodgers, who controversially remarked that he "owns" the Bears following October's clash, threw four touchdowns to help the Packers (10-3) rally from a half-time deficit.

The Packers quarterback – now boasting a 23-5 record against the Bears – completed 29 of 37 attempts for 341 yards as NFC North leaders Green Bay overturned a 10-point second-quarter deficit.

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams finished with two touchdowns, including one late in a wild second quarter where both sides traded six TDs, while Aaron Jones also had two TDs.

The game burst to life in the second quarter with 45 points scored – the most ever in the Packers-Bears rivalry, after Rodgers had been sacked by Robert Quinn in the first.

Rasul Douglas had a second pick-six in consecutive games, this time from Justin Fields on his return from a rib injury for the Bears (4-9), completing 18 of 33 attempts for 224 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Jakeem Grant scored two for the Bears, including the season's first punt return TD, running 97 yards – the longest in Chicago's history. Rodgers found Lazard and Adams for touchdowns, while Damiere Byrd also crossed for the Bears.

After the Packers trailed 27-21 at half-time, Jones capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a rushing TD to take the lead, before Rodgers lobbed a pass to him for his second.

In the fourth quarter, Rodgers found Adams for his second to stretch the lead to 18 points, while Kindle Vildor's penalty for being out of bounds on the punt denied Damien Williams a TD for the Bears, who scored their only second-half points late from Cairo Santos' fourth field goal.

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers said he has no regrets after taunting the Chicago Bears with the comment "I still own you!" as he prepares to renew his rivalry with the NFL franchise.

Rodgers was at his brilliant best as the reigning MVP claimed his 22nd win over the Bears 24-14 in October, the veteran quarterback throwing two touchdowns and running for another at Soldier Field.

His 22-5 record against the Bears ranks third-best for winning percentage (81.5) by a quarterback against a single opponent since 1950 (minimum 25 starts), behind Tom Brady (91.4 per cent against the Buffalo Bills) and Ben Roethlisberger (87.0 per cent against the Cleveland Browns).

As he left the field, Rodgers could be heard taunting Chicago supporters: "All my f****** life, I own you. I still own you. I still own you."

The two teams meet again on Sunday, this time at Lambeau Field and Rodgers was asked about those remarks.

"I don't know that you can question a whole lot of what I said," Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have gotten the better of them the last, I don't know, 27, 28 times we've played them for the most part ... A lot of times in situations like this, the trash talk is only going to be used if you're getting after that individual that was trash-talking.

"So in order to trash-talk, you have to have a lot of confidence in what you accomplished and what you're going to accomplish in the future.

"At some point, what I said will be used against me -- that's just part of it. But I have no regrets for saying what I said, and obviously I think the record kinda speaks for itself. But I get it. "At some point that will be used against me. It is what it is. I don't regret saying it at all."

Rodgers heads into his fourth straight game with no, or very limited, practice time due to a fractured toe.

"I don't want him to take anything away," Rodgers said regarding head coach Matt LaFleur. "I don't think there will be any restrictions on anything come Sunday [against the Bears].

"It might be on Matt's mind, but every time we've talked, I always tell him that everything's in. There's nothing that we need to hold out."

The series is the most played in NFL history with 201 games between the Packers and Bears.

Rodgers threw for two touchdowns with no interceptions in Green Bay's 36-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams last time out. He has the best career touchdown to interception ratio (4.68, 435 TDs to 93 INTs) of the 201 quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 1500 career attempts, per Stats Perform.

Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers says the Green Bay Packers have defied expectations amid more injuries than ever, meaning their 9-3 record "feels pretty good".

The Packers are top in the NFC North ahead of their Week 13 bye where Rodgers, who has thrown 2,878 yards for 23 touchdowns this season, will get the chance to rest a niggling toe issue.

Green Bay's impressive run has come amid injury issues to cornerback Jaire Alexander, center Josh Myers, outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, while star wide receiver Davante Adams tested positive to COVID-19 last month.

"I think we've been dealing with as many injuries as we've had throughout the years," Rodgers said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee show. "A lot of important players, starters on IR, no chance to return and some with a chance.

"Bakhtiari obviously had an opportunity, not sure when that will do. Jaire, hoping him. Za'Darius who knows? Josh Myers up in the air.

"There's a lot of those and then you have the weekly injuries we've had with Kevin King and Aaron Jones. [The bye] definitely comes at a good time.

"For us to be 9-3, not many people expected that looking at our schedule and what we've dealt with this year with Davante being out with COVID and all the injuries up front and on the defensive side of the ball, that feels pretty good."

Rodgers has been in the thick of the news, with his immunisation revelation before testing positive to COVID-19, along with his tongue-in-cheek remark about "COVID toe", all the while his side have claimed good wins against the likes of the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

"It hasn’t been a quiet 12 weeks," he added. "I'm very happy with where we're at. Very happy to have gotten off to the star that we've gotten off to. Happy we've faced some adversity and we're moving through it and close to the other side of it."

The Packers defeated the Rams 36-28 on Sunday, with Rodgers throwing two touchdown passes, as well as completing one rushing TD.

Adams, who has five touchdowns for the season including two in Week 11 in the 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, had eight receptions against the Rams for 104 yards but no touchdowns.

"He has a lot of freedom which he should because he has such a great release pattern and he's such a smart guy," Rodgers said about Adams. "It's not like he's going outside the schematic things but he's making decisions that might not be the expected paper decisions, when you’re looking at it on paper.

"There's paper routes and there's do-whatever-you-want routes for Davante. He did it last week against Minnesota on the second touchdown, he ad-libbed that route, that's why I was a bit late getting to him.

"Normally I have a pretty good sense. You've got to read body movements. Also our conversations are very high level when it comes to those situations."

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers has insisted that he "won't miss any time" regardless of whether or not he has surgery to fix a toe issue.

The quarterback did not practice in the days prior to the Packers' 36-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday, but played the full game.

Green Bay, who top the NFC North with a 9-3 record, now have a bye week, meaning their next fixture is not until December 13 against the Chicago Bears, giving Rodgers the chance to recover and consider his options.

NFL Media reported on Monday that the 37-year-old would not be having surgery, but Rodgers revealed that it remains a possibility, although one he would prefer to avoid.

"Comparing this Monday to last Monday I definitely feel better and same with this Tuesday to last Tuesday," Rodgers said during in an appearance on the The Pat McAfee Show.

"So, you know, I'll just keep getting treatment. We were hoping to avoid surgery, obviously, but the surgery would be such a minor one that it wouldn't be something that [would cause me] to miss time.

"That's a pre-requisite of any surgery that I have at this point, that I'm not going to miss any time. We'll kind of reassess early next week and make a decision.

Rodgers explained that, should he be forced to have an operation, it would prevent him from damaging the toe further but also immobilise it, creating a new problem that he would have to contend with for the remainder of the season.

"The surgery would immobilise the toe and that would be an issue I would be dealing with the entire season," Rodgers continued. "I would avoid any further displacement but it would immobilise the toe.

"We're hoping that, with a couple of weeks, we can get enough healing and maybe we can avoid doing that. We'll reassess, like I said, probably later this week or early next week.

"The ultimate goal is to not have to do surgery, this thing heals up a little bit better and I make it through a few more weeks."

Rodgers also hinted that members of the Packers' staff may be leaking information to the media, following the reports that suggested surgery was not an option he was considering.

"With these reports, I don't know where they're coming from," Rodgers added. 

"I don't know who's talking. It seems like there's certain coaches who may have friends in the media who they don't realise are actually just trying to report things."

Rodgers has thrown 2,878 yards for 23 touchdowns in 2021, with 247 completions and just four interceptions from 11 games played.

Aaron Rodgers expects "greatness" whenever he is on the field after shaking off a toe injury to guide the Green Bay Packers to a 36-28 win against the Los Angeles Rams, though the reigning NFL MVP is set to decide on whether to have surgery.

Rodgers entered Sunday's showdown under a cloud, having missed practice in the lead up to the Lambeau Field clash due to a fractured toe on his left foot.

But the problem could not slow down Rodgers, whose three touchdowns fuelled the NFC North-leading Packers (9-3) past the slumping Rams (7-4).

Rodgers completed 28 of his 47 passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while the Packers quarterback also rushed for a TD on two carries.

"When I step on the field, I expect greatness," said Rodgers after his dominant display.

"Anyone who's a great competitor feels the same way. I don't lean on excuses: not practicing, a little toe injury."

Rodgers, who suffered the injury during quarantine with COVID-19, added: "It definitely isn't the ideal situation not to practice.

"But if I can go out there, take mental reps, go through the plan and my preparation and feel good about what I'm doing, and when I get out there, I've just got to rely on my instincts.

"The beauty is it's an 11-person-a-side game, and I really feel the offensive line allowed me just to settle in."

Despite Rodgers' efforts, the 37-year-old could still go under the knife during Green Bay's bye to address the problem.

"[We're going to do] some more testing in the morning [Monday] and get a better view of what's going on in there and then make a decision [about surgery]," he added.

Aaron Rodgers was not slowed down by his toe injury as he guided the Green Bay Packers to a 36-28 win over the struggling Los Angeles Rams.

Rodgers entered Sunday's showdown under a cloud, having missed practice in the lead up to the Lambeau Field clash due to fractured toe on his left foot.

But the reigning NFL MVP shook off the problem with a pair of passing touchdowns while he rushed for another score as the NFC North-leading Packers (9-3) condemned the slumping Rams (7-4) to a third consecutive defeat.

Rodgers completed 28 of his 47 passes for 307 yards and no interceptions and the Packers quarterback also rushed for a TD on two carries.

The Packers led 20-17 at half-time and blew the visiting Rams away with a 16-0 third period, despite the loss of Randall Cobb.

Cobb was ruled out at the start of the second half due to a groin injury, having set a season high for receiving yards with 95 on four catches in the opening two periods, including a seven-yard TD.

Odell Beckham Jr. scored his first touchdown for the Rams on a 54-yard bomb from Matthew Stafford, but it was a tough outing for the quarterback.

Stafford threw a pick-six that overshadowed his three-touchdown display on 21-of-38 passing for 302 yards and two sacks.

 

Niners stay hot in San Francisco

Deebo Samuel's two touchdowns helped the in-form San Francisco 49ers top the Minnesota Vikings 34-26.

Samuel celebrated a pair of TDs before a groin injury cut short his outing as the 49ers (6-5) won their third straight game.

The 49ers star became the first wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to score a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games in a single season.

Elijah Mitchell put up 133 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries for the 49ers, while Jimmy Garoppolo finished 17-of-26 passing for 230 yards, a touchdown and interception.

Green Bay Packers star and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers will go up against the Los Angeles Rams this week, despite missing practice on Friday.

Rodgers is suffering from a fractured toe on his left foot, which clearly hampered him during last week's 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers quarterback is yet to practice in the lead up to Sunday's showdown at Lambeau Field, but head coach Matt LaFleur insisted Rodgers will play.

"Well, he came down to practice," LaFleur told reporters on Friday.

"He didn't participate in practice, but he was out there and relaying the calls to Jordan [Love], just getting that practice of just saying the playcalls."

LaFleur added: "Yeah, he'll play".

Rodgers threw for a season-high 385 yards to go with four touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Vikings in Week 11.

It was the fourth time Rodgers has thrown for 375 or more yards, four or more touchdowns and no interceptions in the same game, which is three more times than any other Packer QB, according to Stats Perform.

Rodgers ranks second for passer rating in the NFL (106.6), only behind Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (110.4).

Through 10 games this season, Rodgers has completed 219 of 328 passes for 2,571 yards, 21 touchdowns and four interceptions.

"It's been how it's been going the past couple of weeks," Packers offensive co-ordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. "The one thing that I'll tell you is, my respect for him as a player goes up nonstop.

"Everybody talks about how he can throw the ball as good as he can, but his toughness is unbelievable. For him to do what he's doing with this going on is awesome.

"We trust him a ton and know that he's going to do whatever he needs to do to get ready for the game and to be able to go."

Green Bay fell to Minnesota, despite converting seven of their 11 third-down attempts (63.6 percent). It was the highest third-down conversion percentage for the Packers in a loss since Week 2 of the 2005 season, when the team lost 26-24 to the Cleveland Browns while converting 10-of-14 third downs.

Few prospective playoff teams have been scrutinised as heavily as the Los Angeles Rams in recent weeks.

Coming off back-to-back defeats to the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers, a Rams team considered a Super Bowl calibre outfit for effectively the entirety of the season faces the prospect of having to prove themselves all over again.

And they must do so against a Green Bay Packers team competing for the one seed, albeit with injuries that could well derail those hopes.

Potentially complicating matters for the Rams is that their last game may have provided future opponents with a possible blueprint to beating them.

The Niners claimed a fifth successive win over the Rams, crushing them 31-10 in Week 10 by sticking to a tried and tested formula that has continually paid dividends against Los Angeles, relying heavily on the run game and getting the ball out quickly on passing plays to negate the pass rush of Aaron Donald and recent trade acquisition Von Miller.

It is an approach the Packers could well adopt in order to mitigate the impact of their injuries. Green Bay's reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, himself battling a fractured toe, will be without his two best offensive linemen.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari remains out with a knee injury while the versatile Elgton Jenkins, who can plug holes at several positions in the trenches, suffered a torn ACL in last week's defeat to the Minnesota Vikings.

Even with Jenkins' best efforts, the Packers went into Week 12 ranked 21st in pass protection win percentage, per Stats Perform data. Logic dictates they will only fall down the standings in that regard now he is on the shelf.

As such, a move to a run-heavy approach built around the quick passing game seems prudent, especially with the Packers facing a defender in Donald who has won an astonishing 62 of his 95 one-on-one pass rush matchups.

Going with that plan may suit the Packers perfectly. Green Bay could get running back Aaron Jones back from a knee injury this week to boost a ground game that ranks ninth in rush yards over expected.

In terms of the passing attack, Rodgers' time from snap of the ball to releasing it is 2.52 seconds, faster than the league average for quarterbacks (minimum 10 attempts) of 2.66 seconds.

When running quick game concepts, Rodgers has delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball 84.7 per cent of the time - the league average is 81.7.

Put simply, after being tormented by a divisional foe that has consistently proven their kryptonite, the Rams may now be faced with having to deal with a markedly similar gameplan executed by the best quarterback in the NFL last season.

The loss to the 49ers led to the Rams being labelled by many as a soft football team. Such aspersions will only grow more vociferous if they cannot capitalise on the Packers' personnel deficiencies and avoid a third straight defeat.

With the trades for quarterback Matthew Stafford and Miller and, most recently, the signing of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, the Rams have pushed all their chips to the middle, but a loss to Green Bay in the same circumstances as their defeat to San Francisco may leave most expecting them to again leave the table empty-handed come the end of the year.

Aaron Rodgers has revealed, quite literally, that he has a fractured toe on his left foot. 

The Green Bay Packers quarterback held his bare foot up to the camera as he met with reporters via video conference Wednesday, displaying what appeared to be a swollen pinkie toe. 

Rodgers struggled noticeably with his mobility early in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, leaving the field at the end of the first half to get treatment on his toe. 

During his weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, the host joked that Rodgers might have contracted "COVID toe" during his recent bout with coronavirus. 

Rodgers sought to set the record straight, telling reporters he fractured his toe while working out at home during his coronavirus quarantine.

He said he did not realise the extent of the injury until he rejoined the Packers on November 13 before playing the following day against the Seattle Seahawks. 

"Didn't think it was what it was until I got to the facility on Saturday before the game and got X-rayed when I got cleared when I came back in the facility," Rodgers said.

Rodgers did not practice Wednesday and is expected to see only limited action in Friday's workout ahead of this weekend's home game against the Los Angeles Rams. 

He and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur indicated it is a matter of "pain management" at this point, though Rodgers acknowledged he is weighing having surgery during the team's bye week if it would not force him to miss a game. 

"I'll definitely look at all options over the bye and decide what would be best to make sure that I get to the finish line," he said. 

 

The Green Bay Packers will be without Elgton Jenkins for the remainder of the NFL season due to a knee injury.

Offensive lineman Jenkins did the damage while blocking Minnesota safety Harrison Smith on a blitz during the fourth quarter of a 34-31 victory for the Vikings on Sunday.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur on Monday confirmed Jenkins has played his last match of the campaign.

"It's unfortunate," LaFleur said. "Certainly, Elgton's been a big part of this team and still is a big part of this team. But he just won't be out there with us."

Jenkins had been deputising for David Bakhtiari at left tackle for much of this year as he recovers from ACL surgery.

LaFleur says he is unsure when Bakhtiari will be able to return, so Yosh Nijman is set to step in at left tackle once again.

Nijman featured in that role three times this season while Jenkins was sidelined by an ankle injury.

LaFleur said of Nijman: "I think every time a guy goes out there and is able to perform at a high level, you just see their confidence build, and I think that is so important in this game.

"Yosh has all the traits you look for in an offensive lineman. He's big, he's athletic, he can bend, he's strong, powerful, everything. It's just about putting it all together on a consistent basis."

Aaron Rodgers will not be able to practice fully this week, but a toe injury will not keep the quarterback out of a Week 12 showdown with the Los Angeles Rams.

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